(Khartoum) Fighting raged Monday in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan between the camps of the two rival generals, as talks on a truce between their representatives stalled in Saudi Arabia.
In the capital, five million inhabitants live for the fourth consecutive week barricaded at home, for fear of stray bullets.
Without water or electricity, with almost dry food stocks and less and less money in their pockets, they survive in the scorching heat thanks to networks of solidarity between neighbors and relatives.
The telephone network or the Internet comes and goes according to the efforts of telecommunications companies who are struggling to find fuel to run the generators.
Since April 15, clashes have pitted Abdel Fattah al-Burhane’s army against the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (FSR) of Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, two generals who led a putsch together in 2021 but are now fighting for the power.
A resident of southern Khartoum told AFP on Monday “hearing air raids near a market in the city center”.
On the other side of the Red Sea, in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, emissaries from both sides are supposed to negotiate a truce.
These “pre-discussions” are only “technical”, tempering Sudanese and international negotiators for several days.
They do not concern any political aspect in a country in the doldrums since the putsch of 2021.
They will be limited, say the experts, to clearing secure corridors for humanitarian aid arriving on the east coast, in Port Sudan, in order to feed and treat civilians trapped in Khartoum and Darfur, another badly affected region. by the clashes, located in the western border of Chad.
In these two areas, almost no hospitals are functioning and most of the humanitarian reserves have been bombed or looted.
“The main premises of the World Food Program (WFP) have been looted,” said Farhan Haq, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on Monday. He denounced “massive” looting in a country where, before the war, one in three Sudanese was already suffering from hunger.
“Our priority is to achieve a lasting ceasefire” and allow access for humanitarian aid, said US Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey.
Despite the humanitarian emergency, talks in Jeddah have so far failed to yield “major progress”, a Saudi diplomat told AFP on the second day of the talks.
According to a UN official, the UN chief for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, who arrived in Jeddah on Sunday, asked to participate.
For Sudan specialist Kholood Khair, the lack of results is not surprising. With these talks, the two camps are mainly seeking “to curry favor with the Saudis and the Americans, rather than to reach an agreement”, she told AFP.
In addition, the supporters of a civilian power, sidelined since the putsch and who make the link with the humanitarian workers on the ground, are not represented in Jeddah.
Just like the actors who could change the situation, she notes, with reference to the United Arab Emirates, great allies of Daglo, and Egypt, historical partner of the Sudanese army.
These two countries “are the only ones that have so far managed to extract a truce and to enforce it,” she said.
Alongside the Americans and Saudis, the African Union — which suspended Sudan in 2021 and therefore no longer has great levers of pressure — and Igad, the East African regional bloc of which the country is a part. , are trying to organize discussions under the aegis of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.
The latter received an emissary from General Burhane in Juba on Monday, for whom the discussions in Jeddah do not diminish “the role that Igad and President Salva Kiir” could play in the negotiations between the two generals.
The fighting has caused a vast exodus of inhabitants from the affected regions, the UN speaking of 335,000 displaced persons and 117,000 refugees.
In the midst of an economic crisis, Egypt took in more than 65,000 Sudanese refugees.
Its head of diplomacy Sameh Choukri was in Chad on Monday, where he warned of “the human tragedy” of the conflict and its “direct impact on neighboring countries”, before joining South Sudan, another neighbor of Sudan, which welcomed, together with Chad, more than 57,000 people fleeing the war.